It’s been four agonising years of near misses and close shaves but CSU Reddies are set to shake off their premiership demons.
The students have featured in three of the past four deciders and are a top-four mainstay across the women’s competition.
Yet, championship glory has eluded them.
Last year’s grand final loss to Leeton – a thrilling 32-27 affair that went right down to extra time – typified CSU’s luckless run in the women’s game and would’ve laid lesser teams low for the ensuing season.
That being said, CSU aren’t a lesser team and the girls have since redoubled their efforts.
With a star-studded line up boasting the likes of teenage talent Biola Dawa, the Reddies set about going one better and notched four straight wins to open the 2018 season.
A lapse against Wagga Waratahs saw them stumble in round five before posting another four wins on the trot to place one hand on the minor premiership.
It wasn’t to be as two losses late in the season saw the Reddies slip to third behind Tahs and eventual minor premiers Griffith, setting them on a qualifying final collision course.
However, Brittney Bedford’s side have been flawless in the knockout stages, outmuscling Tahs 36-14 before booking their grand final ticket with a 31-7 victory over the Blacks and the skipper knows there’s more to come.
“We’ve been building each week throughout the year which has been really positive,” Bedford said.
“It’s good because we’ve played well the past few weeks and I don’t think we’ve even reached our full potential.”
Bedford has terrorised opposing sides with her rock-solid defence and abrasive running game this season and will look to lead her Reddies from the front against Griffith’s sizeable pack.
“We’ve played with really good aggression this year and I think maintaining that and making our first up tackles will be important for us,” she said.
“If we can do those things, we should have a good game and go well.”
Reddies coach Andy Bedford has been preparing his side for a physical affair, showing no mercy in a full week of contact and breakdown training in the lead up to Saturday’s grand final.
“We had the week off earlier so training has been pretty full on,” he said.
“It’s been a lot of work around the breakdown and I think that’s going to be a really important area for us. Ball security is key and if we can starve Griffith of the ball, we should wear their bigger bodies down and unlock opportunities out wide.”
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